New $4.6 million boost for six bridges in Somerset
THEY are the six bridges to build a better future for the people of the Somerset region.
Thanks to joint funding of $4.6 million from the Federal Government and Somerset Regional Council, a selection of vital bridges will be constructed in the growing communities west of Ipswich.
The structures, which the Federal Government's bridges renewal program will contribute $2.3 million towards, include Crossdale Bridges (one and two) on Crossdale Rd, Dunlops Bridge on Western Branch Rd at Mt Stanley and Galanani Bridge on Esk-Crows Nest Rd at Biarra.
Rounding out the sextet of bridges are Duffys Bridge on Gregors Creek Rd at Harkin and the Larkhill Boundary Road Bridge at Glamorgan Vale.
Somerset Mayor Graeme Lehmann said the funding, of which his council would provide half, was "a major boost to the economy of our rural sector" with 25% of employment in the Somerset existing in food production and food processing
"We won't end up with bridges with weigh limits, which is holding back some of the transport in and out of places," he said.
"Some of the bridges would have been flood affected and a lot of them are older timber bridges getting close to their use-by date."
Cr Lehmann said the Larkhill Boundary Road Bridge would "result in the existing single lane timber bridge being replaced with a double lane concrete bridge and ultimately enable further support of the surrounding beef cattle industry".
"Almost 1400 head of cattle are transported over the Larkhill Boundary Road Bridge per year," he said.
"The reality is that council was going to have to load limit this bridge in the not too distant future had this funding to upgrade it not come through."
LNP candidate for Blair, Teresa Harding, said the funding demonstrated that the government recognised the vital role good infrastructure played in economic development.
"People drive on these bridges every day and they need to be made more resilient," she said.
"These upgrades will reduce transport freight times from farms and local industry to the city.
"We will see economic gains and less wear and tear on cars and trucks.
"The number one thing in the seat of Blair is to get jobs and growth and a major part of that is to have the necessary infrastructure."
Ms Harding said securing better infrastructure for the region would be a key focus in her 2016 election campaign.